RENSSELAER COUNTY, N.Y. — A New York City hospital studying the health effects of water contaminated by a reputed cancer-causing chemical will host a pair of public forums at the end of the month.
Physicians from Mount Sinai Hospital will meet with residents of Petersburgh and Hoosick Falls, N.Y. to discuss health concerns of PFOA. The forums will be held on Friday, July 29 at 6 p.m. at the Petersburgh Veterans Memorial Community Center on Main Street; and again on Saturday, July 30 at 11 a.m. at the Hoosick Falls Armory on Church Street. Additional dates are possible, according to a news release from the state Department of Health.
PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is a synthetic substance used in the manufacture of no-stick cookware, dental floss, electrical insulation, fabrics and other products. Chronic exposure has been linked to testicular cancer, kidney cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Studies suggest other possible health consequences, including a connection to pancreatic cancer.
The chemical was first discovered in the Hoosick Falls municipal water supply in 2014. Tests later found PFOA in private wells in the village and town of Hoosick, and then in public and private water sources in Petersburgh. Honeywell International and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics are responsible for the contamination in Hoosick Falls, while Taconic Plastics is likely responsible for the contamination in Petersburgh, according to state and federal officials.
All three companies have agreed to pay for interim measures such as home and municipal filtration systems to remove PFOA, bottled drinking water, and other costs related to investigations and cleanup. Saint-Gobain and Honeywell have signed consent orders with the state.
DOH in January initiated a confidential PFOA "biomonitoring program" for people who have lived or worked in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh. The program has measured PFOA levels in the blood of more than 2,500 participants to provide information about their exposures, according to DOH.
As well as providing area health care providers with information, the state agency also partnered with Mount Sinai physicians with environmental exposure expertise to provide residents with an additional resource to discuss blood test results.
Mount Sinai Hospital is available to all individuals who participated in the biomonitoring program by calling 1-866-265-6201.